C2D7 and C1D10 district tournaments bracket are unveiled

Typically, the second-to-last Wednesday of the regular season is reserved for many as the day to pick districts in Missouri high school basketball. We still have 10 days of the regular season remaining, but let’s take a look at two district tournaments of local interest.

IMG_3192Class 2 District 7 boys tournament

  1. Salisbury (21-0)
  2. New Franklin (16-6)
  3. Westran (13-8)
  4. Harrisburg (9-12)
  5. Fayette (7-14)
  6. Slater (1-20)
  7. Sweet Springs (8-15)

This is exactly how I picked this district to look this morning.  Two weeks ago, Harrisburg would be seeded ahead of Westran, but the Hornets have been hot as of late, beating state-ranked Community on Saturday. Harrisburg lost both games of the Southern Boone Classic and still has three really tough games (Tolton, Santa Fe and Hallsville) to go in the regular season. And I know it doesn’t look like it makes sense to put 1-20 Slater ahead of 6-14 Sweet Springs, but that one win for Slater is a rather impressive win…over Sweet Springs.

* * * * * * * *

IMG_3191Class 2 District 7 tournament

  1. Harrisburg (14-8)
  2. Sweet Springs (16-7)
  3. New Franklin (12-10)
  4. Salisbury (8-12)
  5. Westran (8-13)
  6. Slater (9-13)
  7. Fayette (1-19)

Another fairly predictable lineup of seedings, although if Salisbury had beaten New Franklin on Friday, that would have made 3-5 seeds a free-for-all. But New Franklin did win, so that made for no headaches when the coaches had to pick this district.

* * * * * * * *

IMG_3186Class 1 District 10 boys tournament

  1. Glasgow (18-4)
  2. Northwestern (15-5)
  3. Tina-Avalon (11-11)
  4. Higbee (10-11)
  5. Keytesville (7-14)
  6. Brunswick (6-13)
  7. Hale/Bosworth (4-17)
  8. Malta Bend (6-10)

Again, these were rather predictable seedings, as of two weeks ago. Higbee could have been the No. 6 seed before the Keytesville Tournament, but after beating both Keytesville and Brunswick by 25 points each, they helped solidify the No. 4 seed.

* * * * * * * *

IMG_3187Class 1 District 10 girls tournament

  1. Glasgow (14-8)
  2. Keytesville (14-8)
  3. Higbee (16-6)
  4. Tina-Avalon (11-11)
  5. Northwestern (4-15)
  6. Hale/Bosworth (5-15)
  7. Malta Bend (7-9)
  8. Brunswick (0-18)

Finally, I didn’t think the same as the coaches. I had Higbee ahead of Keytesville, and Malta Bend ahead of Hale/Bosworth. Still, do I get any credit for still picking the exact same four first-round matchups? I know Keytesville beat Higbee head-to-head, but Higbee didn’t get a chance for revenge because Keytesville lost its first-round game of the Keytesville Tournament. But hey, I should’ve known. When in doubt, go with the head-to-head result.

Posted in Fayette High School basketball, Glasgow sports, Harrisburg sports, Higbee sports, New Franklin sports, Tournaments | Leave a comment

Harrisburg’s inaugural class: Trio of Bulldog football players are program’s first to sign with college team

Three Harrisburg football players were part of a historic day on Wednesday, which was more commonly known as “National Signing Day” in the college football world. The Bulldogs had three players sign National Letters of Intent with the Central Methodist University football team, becoming the first products of the Harrisburg football program to move on and play college football. Pictured above at the signing are (front row) seniors Tyler McMahan, Cody Adams and Austin Horn. Harrisburg head coach Travis Kinkade (back row, right) joined his players at the ceremony, as did assistant coach Mason Hardin (back row, left). Hardin became the first Harrisburg graduate to play college football when he signed with William Jewell College in 2009.

Three Harrisburg football players were part of a historic day on Wednesday, which was more commonly known as “National Signing Day” in the college football world. The Bulldogs had three players sign National Letters of Intent with the Central Methodist University football team, becoming the first products of the Harrisburg football program to move on and play college football. Pictured above at the signing are (front row) seniors Tyler McMahan, Cody Adams and Austin Horn. Harrisburg head coach Travis Kinkade (back row, right) joined his players at the ceremony, as did assistant coach Mason Hardin (back row, left). Hardin became the first Harrisburg graduate to play college football when he signed with William Jewell College in 2009.

The following story was first published in the Feb. 7 issue of the Democrat-Leader in Fayette.

By Greg Jackson
Sports Editor

It was already going to be a groundbreaking day at Central Methodist University.

For the first time ever, the Eagles brought the excitement of National Signing Day directly to their campus on Wednesday. The football coaching staff invited the 2015 signing class to come to campus and be a part of one big signing ceremony, something that had not been done before in college football.

That alone was a groundbreaking step, yet it wasn’t the only “first” of its kind that day.

The Harrisburg football program was also celebrating a big step in its young history. Three Bulldog seniors arrived at the ceremony in Fayette and signed their National Letters of Intent with Central Methodist.

Cody Adams, Austin Horn and Tyler McMahan became the first college football signees who were products of the Harrisburg program, still in its infancy after completing its second season overall and first varsity campaign this past fall.

“It was really cool,” Adams said. “I feel on top of the world. I got to do this with a bunch of my friends, my family was all here and I also got to meet a lot of new people that I’ll be playing football with in the fall. I’m looking forward to it.”

Central Methodist had a total of 21 players come to campus to sign with the Eagles. Typically, on National Signing Day, players sign their Letters of Intent at their respective high schools and fax them to their future college coach. Wednesday’s on-campus ceremony allowed Eagles head coach Jody Ford to get a look at the group of players that will be arriving on campus for practice in August.

“I just thought this made sense,” Ford said. “It’s so hard to get to 50 different schools and do the signings there. A lot of the players are pretty close (to Fayette), so we decided to bring them all here.”

The Eagles signed many local seniors, including a few from the Lewis & Clark Conference. Slater’s Cole Skinner signed with the Eagles at the ceremony and Paris’ Kyle Popkes and Slater Stone inked with Central Methodist later that afternoon.

Most players lived within an hour of Fayette, but a couple of players had to travel quite a bit. One player made the trip from Kansas City and another even came from out of state, making the four-hour drive from Nebraska City, Neb., to sign his Letter of Intent.

Following an introduction from Central Methodist president Roger Drake, vice president Ken Oliver and athletic director Brian Spielbauer, players came up one by one with their families and friends to sign their letters with Ford. After signing and receiving a round of applause from the audience, they made their way to the press table and had a quick one-on-one interview with the sports information staff. The event was broadcast live on cmueagles.com.

“It was definitely nerve-wracking at first,” Horn said of signing with the Eagles on a live broadcast. “But once you got in, it was pretty awesome.”

The smiles were pretty big on each recruit’s face, but a few people in the crowd had even bigger smiles and a lot of pride: the parents and the high school football coaches.

Harrisburg football head coach Travis Kinkade is no stranger to college football, having attended Missouri Western State University on a football scholarship. Now he participates in National Signing Day in a different capacity, watching players take the next step in their college careers as a coach.

“I think they are as prepared as they can be,” Kinkade said. “We really tried to do a good job of teaching them the fundamentals. It will be interesting to see how they develop over the next four years, as football players, young men and students.”

Adams, Horn and McMahan represent the first class of Harrisburg football players to sign with a college program. However, they aren’t the first Harrisburg graduates who will play college football. Mason Hardin, a 2009 Harrisburg graduate, didn’t have the luxury of attending a high school with a football program, but that didn’t stop him from signing with William Jewell College. He is currently an assistant coach on Kinkade’s staff and attended the signing ceremony as well.

The three players have taken some big steps since Harrisburg started its football program in 2013. That season, the Bulldogs played a junior varsity schedule. This past fall, Harrisburg played its first year as a varsity program. And this upcoming fall season, all three will advance to the collegiate level, whether it’s with the Eagles at the varsity or JV level.

“I think it says that we’re moving in the right direction,” McMahan said of the players’ rapid growth in a short period of time.

Kinkade said his three players have a lot to offer the Eagles. Adams, an offensive lineman, has become a great verbal leader and has been a great communicator. Horn missed the entire 2014 football season after suffering an ACL injury during the summer, but his head coach said he is a great kid who will battle his way back to get on the field in the fall as a wide receiver. And although McMahan has a slightly undersized frame for a running back at the college level, he is a tough kid who never complains and gives it all he has, Kinkade said.

Ford said he looks forward to having Adams, Horn and McMahan join the Eagles’ family, not just for the next four years, but the next 20 or 30 years.

The three players leave behind a family they helped create in Harrisburg, one that some thought may never come to fruition. Unlike many signees, they crammed their high school football careers into two seasons, learning so much in so little time.

“It seems like yesterday was our first JV game,” Horn said. “We fast-forward two years and here I am today.”

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Predictions for Day Six of the 2015 Slater Wildcat Classic

Yeah, I know, I’ve really been lagging on the picks and recaps during the second half of the week. I’d better make these quickly, because the first game starts in about an hour.

No. 5 Marshall (G) vs. No. 2 Glasgow (1 p.m. tip-off): Well, as I said about the Fayette boys’ performance on Tuesday, it can’t get worse for the Glasgow girls after Thursday’s 31-point loss to Pilot Grove on Thursday. That was Glasgow’s most-lopsided loss in more than three years. I’m sure head coach Molly Monnig and the Lady Jackets ironed out a few things in practice yesterday, and they needed to, facing their second Class 4 opponent of the season (and another NCMC school to boot). Marshall has yet to play Moberly, but the Lady Owls did beat Sacred Heart by 26 points back in early December. This will be a close one, just like their championship meeting in 2013. Prediction: Glasgow 45, Marshall 41.

No. 5 Pilot Grove (B) vs. No. 3 Glasgow (2:30 p.m. tip-off): I’m pretty sure the last time Pilot Grove beat Glasgow was in the 2010 district championship game, the same year Pilot Grove finished second in state. Someone asked me how Glasgow will guard Mason Schlotzhauer today. I told that person I don’t know, but with Glasgow’s defense, I doubt he reaches his season average today. Prediction: Glasgow 65, Pilot Grove 50.

No. 3 Pilot Grove (G) vs. No. 1 Santa Fe (4 p.m. tip-off): All right, I completely underestimated Santa Fe on Wednesday. I’ll give them the respect they deserve today. Prediction: Santa Fe 56, Pilot Grove 42.

No. 2 Sacred Heart (B) vs. No. 1 Higginsville (5:30 p.m. tip-off): I haven’t gotten to see much of Higginsville this week, but I’ve seen a lot of Sacred Heart. And still, I’m definitely going with the Huskers and picking with my MRVC roots today. Prediction: Higginsville 73, Sacred Heart 63.

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Predictions for Day Four of the 2015 Slater Wildcat Classic

Tonight’s games at Slater aren’t the only big tournament games for Howard County area teams.

  • The Higbee girls play Class 1 No. 6 Norborne (which is 16-0) at 7:30 p.m. in the semifinals of the Keytesville Tournament.
  • The New Franklin boys play Class 2 No. 3 Salisbury (which is the only remaining undefeated Class 2 team at 17-0) at 6 p.m. in the Sturgeon Tournament semifinals.

But if you’re near a computer tonight, you might want to go to KMMO.com and watch the two semifinal games tonight in the Slater Wildcat Classic. Or, if you live in Glasgow, just drive down Highway 240 and get your money’s worth in person. Who ya got tonight?

No. 7 Sacred Heart (G) vs. No. 6 Slater (4:30 p.m. tip-off): Slater looked like a different team this year after Mary Rose Gonzalez graduated and took her talents to Central Methodist University. The Lady Wildcats look more different without her AND Jordan Allen in the post. Regardless, Sacred Heart’s guards should have a better showing tonight after a rough outing on Tuesday against Glasgow. Prediction: Sacred Heart 52, Slater 37.

No. 7 Fayette (B) vs. No. 6 Santa Fe (6 p.m. tip-off): Plain and simple, Fayette’s performance on Tuesday was the worst I had seen all season. Davis Valencia leads the team in scoring, but he was held scoreless against Sacred Heart. The last time he was held to 0 points in a game? The night of Ben Pallardy’s Fayette head coaching debut, back in November 2013 against New Franklin. Santa Fe is going to run Fayette ragged tonight, and the Chiefs also have a size advantage. And let’s not forget, this team hasn’t forgotten about Fayette beating them in the first round of districts during the football season. Maybe tonight is payback time. Prediction: Santa Fe 59, Fayette 41.

No. 3 Pilot Grove (G) vs. No. 2 Glasgow (7:30 p.m. tip-off): Tuesday was a very promising turnaround for Glasgow, snapping a four-game losing streak. Pilot Grove has the two-headed monster of Melissa Schlotzhauer and Kerigan Wessing, but I have a feeling if the Lady Jackets keep the other Pilot Grove players out of the scoring column, they should make a third-straight title game appearance at Glasgow. Post play has always come up big for Glasgow in games like this, and after a rough outing Tuesday night, I look for Blakeley Fuemmeler to dominate inside, along with Abby Littrell and Jaden Monnig. Prediction: Glasgow 49, Pilot Grove 44.

No. 3 Glasgow (B) vs. No. 2 Sacred Heart (9 p.m. tip-off): Slater should expect a sell-out for this game. Two state-ranked teams close out tonight’s semifinal action. Glasgow is No. 7 in Class 1 and Sacred Heart is No. 10 in Class 2. Both teams have Salisbury as a common opponent, and both teams lost to the Panthers by double digits. Let’s put it this way. If Glasgow plays the way it did Tuesday night, I really like the Yellowjackets’ chances against the Gremlins. Blake Hackman will have to make some threes and Kennedy Davis, Bryant Hubbard and Adam Monning have to control the inside for Glasgow to win tonight. But Sacred Heart’s guard play is really crafty, and the Gremlins dropped 49 points on Fayette in the first half, resting the starters the whole second half. Glasgow hasn’t reached the championship game of this tournament since 2008, losing in the semifinals for six straight seasons. Meanwhile, Sacred Heart has reached the championship game every season since 2009, although there was no title game played last January/February. Will both streaks continue, or is tonight the night they both come to an end? Eh, why not? Prediction: Glasgow 57, Sacred Heart 55.

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Recap of Day Three of the 2015 Slater Wildcat Classic

I ran out of time to make my predictions of Wednesday’s game, so I’ll include my guessed score at the end of each recap.

No. 4 Higginsville (G) 55, No. 8 Fayette 15: This game really didn’t get out of hand until the third quarter, when Higginsville went on a 14-0 run in the first three minutes after halftime. Turnovers limited Fayette’s number of shots, and aside from that, the shooting percentage wasn’t that bad. But it’s tough to win when you average about 8-9 turnovers a quarter, or roughly a turnover for every minute of the game. (Prediction: Higginsville 61, Fayette 27).

No. 4 Marshall (B) 56, No. 8 Slater 37: I didn’t watch this game, but I heard Marshall had a few starters out with injuries, which may help explain why this game wasn’t a blowout. Still, Slater had a nice bounce-back after scoring just 16 points on Monday against Higginsville. (Prediction: Marshall 69, Slater 35).

No. 1 Santa Fe (G) 56, No. 5 Marshall 33: Boy, I had this game picked wrong. Way wrong. I knew the first half against Fayette was atypical for Santa Fe, but the way Marshall played in the second half on Monday against Higginsville, I really liked the Lady Owls’ chances for an upset. Santa Fe improves to 15-2 with the win, I believe, and they’ll appear in the championship game of this tournament for the first time since 2008. (Prediction: Marshall 53, Santa Fe 49).

No. 1 Higginsville (B) 68, No. 5 Pilot Grove 45: From what I hear, Higginsville had a hot start, Pilot Grove fought back in the second quarter, and then, in the second half, Higginsville dominated. In a losing effort, Pilot Grove junior Mason Schlotzhauer scored his 1,500th career point. There’s no question he’ll get to 2,000 by the time he graduates, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he reaches 2,500 points. All he’d have to do is score 1,000 points in roughly 35-40 games, which for Schlotzhauer is an average day. (Prediction: Higginsville 75, Pilot Grove 57).

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Recap of Day Two at the 2015 Slater Wildcat Classic

I know some of these scores won’t look exciting, but a few of the games still were, in my opinion.

No. 2 Glasgow (G) 50, No. 7 Sacred Heart 31: I’m convinced that if Glasgow makes threes, it wins. If the Lady Jackets don’t, well, it’s harder for them to win. More than 50 percent of their scoring came beyond the arc. Abby Thompson and Tara Fuemmeler had 15 points apiece and Anne Reynolds scored 10. Each made three 3-pointers, resulting in 27 of Glasgow’s 50 points. If Glasgow plays this way Thursday night, a championship game appearance is imminent.

No. 2 Sacred Heart (B) 79, No. 7 Fayette 22: There was nothing pretty about this game. Sacred Heart led 49-12, and the only reason Fayette was in double digits was because Blake Dawson knocked down some threes to interrupt what would have been a lopsided Sacred Heart run. The road will be rough on Thursday for Fayette, which faces an underrated Santa Fe at the No. 6 seed.

No. 3 Pilot Grove (G) 61, No. 6 Slater 33: As expected, without Jordan Allen, Slater had difficulty keeping up with Pilot Grove’s Melissa Schlotzhauer and Kerigan Wessing. The highlight of this game was Slater’s Miranda Liemkuehler knocking down a three with time running down in the fourth quarter. The gym erupted for the Lady Wildcats bench player.

No. 3 Glasgow (B) 73, No. 6 Santa Fe 43: The report Mick Cropp sent me said Glasgow shot JUST 52 percent from the field, but man, it felt like it would be at least 60 percent. Glasgow’s defense had some tough times stopping Santa Fe in the first quarter, but the Chiefs had a hard time keeping up with the Yellowjackets after that. Blake Hackman hit some big threes in the first half, and when they’re falling for the senior, Glasgow seems to ride his coattails and pick up some energy. Bryant Hubbard, Kennedy Davis and Adam Monnig also had big games, scoring 14-16 points each. If you’re not doing anything at 9 p.m. Thursday, you might want to watch that Glasgow and Sacred Heart game.

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Predictions for Day Two of the 2015 Slater Wildcat Classic

Four more games on tap today. As always, they’ll be broadcast on KMMO, and this year they are being livestreamed on the KMMO website. If you can’t make it to Slater, the livestream is really good quality. I watched it yesterday in the hospitality room and KMMO is doing a great job with that.

No. 7 Sacred Heart (G) vs. No. 2 Glasgow (4:30 p.m. tip-off): This is a scary matchup for Glasgow, which is currently on a four-game losing streak. Sacred Heart is better than a No. 7 seed, but it’s the Slater tournament, so it’s not a surprise that a good team has a low seed. The last time I saw Glasgow play, the Lady Jackets beat Sturgeon, and then lost their next four games (Whoops, I forgot I went to the New Franklin game. Scratch that thought). I’ll be there tonight in Slater, so we’ll find out if I’m a good luck charm or not. Prediction: Glasgow 44, Sacred Heart 38.

No. 7 Fayette (B) vs. No. 2 Sacred Heart (6 p.m. tip-off): These two teams met in the first round last year as well. Fayette is better than it was last year and Sacred Heart is not quite as good as last year’s state championship team. Still, this won’t be like the 2010 or 2011 championship games. Prediction: Sacred Heart 71, Fayette 45.

No. 6 Slater (G) vs. No. 3 Pilot Grove (7:30 p.m. tip-off): These two teams met on Thursday and Pilot Grove won rather convincingly by 45 points. I saw Jordan Allen was using crutches last night at the games, so Slater is going to have a hard time winning games this week without her inside presence. Prediction: Pilot Grove 64, Slater 30.

No. 6 Santa Fe (B) vs. No. 3 Glasgow (9 p.m. tip-off): I haven’t seen Santa Fe play this year, but the Chiefs are always a scary team in this tournament. They’ve won the I-70 Conference tournament this year and only lost to Hardin-Central — ranked No. 4 in Class 1 — by four points to start the season. Any opponent would be worried to face this team. But rarely have I seen a Glasgow team get worried in the past. It’s doubtful the Yellowjackets will have to worry tonight, although this could be closer than people may expect. Prediction: Glasgow 58, Santa Fe 49.

Posted in Fayette High School basketball, Glasgow sports, Tournaments | Leave a comment